Need a passport? You are in luck.

Need a passport?  You are in luck.

The State Department, which issues and renews passports for US citizens, has faced a number of challenges since the beginning of the pandemic. Staff shortages caused widespread delays in the application process, including a lack of in-person appointments, while the increase in the number of Americans hoping to travel led to a record number of applications and renewal requests.

David Alwadish, founder of iteasy.coma passport and visa expedited servicecalled the backlog of passport applications a “perfect storm”.

“Before the summer, it was terrible,” he said. “They’ve fixed it, but this was the worst case I’ve ever seen.”

According to the agency, between October 2022 and September last year, the State Department issued more than 24 million passports – the highest number ever issued during a fiscal year.

To address the backlog and reduce application processing times, the State Department is increasing the number of staff by 12 percent through December 2022, and hundreds of people are still in the process of being hired, according to a spokesperson. And between January and October last year, the department authorized more than 30,000 hours of overtime each month.

The department also called on volunteers from across the agency, including new hires and retirees, to form surge teams to make decisions on passports, according to a department spokesperson.

Dr. Barry G., a 65-year-old orthopedic surgeon from Long Island, New York. Simonson plans to vacation in Mexico with his wife this month.

But in late October, as the trip approached, Dr. Simonson took a look at the passports. “Oh my God, they’re running out,” she recalled thinking.

Aware of the system breakdown due to the backlog of passport renewals, Dr Simonson was concerned.

“I was very worried that we wouldn’t be able to renew our passports on time,” he said.

He immediately looked up, which warned that the process was taking several months, he said. But their passports arrived in about two to three weeks, Dr. Simonson said, and by early January, they were on a beach in Mexico.

If you are planning to travel internationally, it would be a good idea to apply for a passport As soon as possible, or if you already have one, check your expiry date and apply for renewal if necessary. Memorization, some countries It is required that your passport is valid for six months beyond your travel dates.

Are you mailing your application? Keep in mind that the estimated time frame for processing begins once your application is received at the passport agency or processing center. It may take an additional two weeks for your application to reach the passport office and then an additional two weeks for your passport to be mailed back to you.

Some tips that Mr. Alwadish of noted: You should type the information in your application instead of writing it by hand, double-check all your information and your payments, and make sure your passport photo is of good quality. .

Although the government’s application process is improving, Mr. Alwadish said, small mistakes and human error can still hinder your travel plans.

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